Supporting emergency management governance on Norfolk Island

COVID-19, water scarcity and a recent cyclone threat demonstrate the critical importance of ensuring the Norfolk Island community can effectively prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies and disasters and are appropriately supported to do so.

In December last year I announced funding for an independent assessment of the local emergency management governance arrangements on Norfolk Island to ensure they best meet the needs of the community.

I am committed to the delivery of this project for the protection of the Norfolk Island community, and welcome the engagement of independent consultant Cube Group who has commenced a review of the existing emergency management arrangements on Norfolk Island.

Cube Group have extensive experience in delivering emergency management projects, including the delivery of a national review of emergency warnings and information, and is bringing this expertise to the Norfolk Island Review of Emergency Management Arrangements (the Review). The Review provides an independent, expert evaluation of Norfolk Island’s existing emergency management arrangements — the Disaster and Emergency Management Act 2001 (NI) and NORDISPLAN — as well as state-type emergency services.

Community and stakeholder engagement is critical to the review process. This review comes at a time where the whole community has been, and will continue to be, significantly affected by the current pandemic, making your feedback highly relevant and timely for this review.  Community members are often the first responders when an emergency or incident occurs, and their local knowledge and expertise are vital to informing the future emergency management arrangements for Norfolk Island.

While COVID-19 restrictions prevent face-to-face engagement on Island at this time, the Review team is committed to ongoing community consultation and will engage with the local community throughout the review process through to the expected completion in December this year.

I would like to acknowledge the hard work that is already being done by EMNI, Norfolk Island Regional Council and Councillors and the on-island agencies, businesses, volunteers and the local community that have been working diligently to keep the community safe over the past months.

I would also like to thank the Administrator, Eric Hutchinson, for his role alongside EMNI, and his focus on the interests and priorities of the Norfolk Island community.

This project complements other Australian Government initiatives on Norfolk Island announced in December 2019, including the design and business case for an emergency shelter and developing a fire management plan, along with the ongoing work to improve Norfolk Island’s water security through a desalination system and other measures.  

These important projects will better position Norfolk Island to prepare for and respond to a range of potential emergency situations.